Unity and cooperation among women is important in their quest for empowerment and overcoming injustice in society, activists have said.
This was observed yesterday by participants drawn from different African countries who are in Kigali for the African Women in Leadership (AWLO) Conference, an annual meeting for strategies and capacity building to advance women’s leadership.
The conference engages decision makers to generate solutions, implement best practices, and build partnerships for women’s development.
In an interview with The New Times, various women activists shared their views on the state of women empowerment in Africa and what should be done to take it to another level.
Engineer Uzo Okoli, a member of AWLO, River State Chapter (Nigeria), said that she sees Africa increasingly improving in terms of empowering women.
“We need more women supporting each other. Women should hold the hand of other women and pull them up and along instead of pushing fellow women down,” she said.
Uzo said that one of the biggest challenges facing women in Africa was cultural injustice.
“Some cultures won’t give women the opportunity to go out there, speak out and be heard. So, I think culture is one of the biggest challenges women encounter today,” she said.
Sata Shariff, the Executive Director of Youth in Action for Peace and Empowerment, and president of the Youth Council of Women in Leadership, Liberia Chapter, echoed almost a similar opinion, calling upon women to support the younger generation by living by example and mentoring younger ones.
She called for more efforts to educate women, and other ways to fight human rights violations like gender based violence, which she said has increased in her country.
Addressing the delegates, Dr Elisha Attai, the founder of AWLO, also called for women to support fellow women.
“It is time for all women to form a ring of support and dig a well of encouragement for others to drink from,” he said, highlighting the need for women to share wisdom, celebrate their uniqueness, accept their frailties, and find dignity in the labour of their hands.
He also urged for respect for women who raise children, saying that parenting has deep and lasting impact on the life and character of children
Soline Nyirahabimana, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, said a lot of progress had been made in empowering women, yet sustainability calls for lasting solutions, among which is the need to foster and harness cooperation and collaboration with other women networks, civil society organizations and NGO’s.